Work in itself doesn’t make us happy

Last updated on April 19, 2021

“What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 2:22-23)

Some people don’t work to live, but live to work. They spend all of their life toiling to gather riches, and never have a moment of rest. The author of Ecclesiastes sees such people around him, and reflects on their life style. He concludes that this attitude towards work and possessions does not bring happiness. As with so many things in life, it is “vanity”. Wealth is temporary and unpredictable. It slips through your fingers, it’s no guarantee for happiness. As Ecclesiastes 5:13-14 philosophically observes: “There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture”.

We can only enjoy our work and its results if we have the right perspective on life. Knowing that everything on earth is fleeting and temporary in comparison to God’s eternal kingdom, puts things in perspective and prevents us from over-valuing our labor and our money. Knowing that life’s value is not ultimately dependent on economic success or material well-being, helps us to relax and enjoy God’s good gifts.

Does your work occupy you so much that you can’t find rest? If so, please take a moment to ask yourself why you prioritize your work over everything else …

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